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31.12.09

Juicy Lucy




Juicy Lucy - Here She Comes Again -1995 - Castle

Ray Owen is the only original band member on this album. Juicy Luicy toured to support the album, but could not attract much interest from their old fans, or win over a new audience. In 1997 the band disbanded. However, they later reformed, and as of this year (2009), Juicy Lucy are still gigging, but without Ray Owen who has health problems. "Here She Comes Again" is a good album, and contains many of JL's old standards. However, they cannot be compared to the band of forty years ago. Like many other bands on this blog, including Little Feat, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Gong, Juicy Luicy have undergone many different personnel changes. "HSCA" should not be compared to "Lie Back and Enjoy It", or "Get a Whiff a This". Taken on it's own merits, the album is a good blues rockin' album from the mid nineties, and even with a "new" line-up, the old songs are done well. Listen to JL's 1969 s/t album, and their 90's "Blue Thunder" album.

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1 Who Do You Love - McDaniel 3:00
2 Saturday Night - Jarvis, Owen 4:11
3 Here She Comes Again - Owen 4:26
4 Talk to Me - Owen 3:57
5 Try My Love - Owen 4:12
6 Gone Tomorrow - Owen 5:44
7 Voodoo Child (Slight Return) - Hendrix 5:11
8 Instrumentalizationalized - Blackledge, Doughty, Jarvis 3:46
9 Up to the Trax - Doughty, Owen 3:56
10 Pretty Woman - Owen 4:01
11 Drug Squad - Blackledge, Doughty, Jarvis 7:20

BAND

Ray Owen (vocals, guitar)
Mike Jarvis (guitar)
Andy Doughty (bass)
Spencer Blackledge (drums)

BIO

In the beginning there was a band called The Misunderstood. Hailed in the late sixties as pioneers of the psychedelic movement by the likes of Pink Floyd, their cause had been championed by John Peel who discovered them whilst he was working as a DJ in the US. He was so impressed by them that he produced their first recordings in 1966 and invited them to come to the UK, an offer they later took up. However, having made it to the UK the Vietnam draft in the US and problems with UK immigration services caused personnel problems and associated line up chages. Juicy Lucy was born out of their final line up in July 1969. Taking their name from a character in Leslie Thomas' "Virgin Soldiers" Juicy Lucy were aiming to move away from the psychedelic sound of The Misunderstood to something more contemporary and commercial. Well, they certainly got that right with the first single from the self titled debut album. "Who Do You Love?", a cover of a Bo Diddley song, stamped it's way up the singles charts in the UK and several European countries in the spring of 1970, finally reaching number 14 in the UK and staying on the chart for three months. The album cover itself caused quite a stir, featuring as it did a woman lying naked, surrounded (and modesty preserved) by fruit! Unfortunately all was not well in the Lucy camp. Personal differences took their toll and the band went through several line up changes to the extent that by the time of the band's last album "Pieces" none of the original members who had seared their way onto the scene with Who Do You Love remained in the band. And so Juicy Lucy disappeared from sight. However, 1994 saw the return of the band with singer Ray Owen taking the position centre stage on vocals and guitar and ably assisted by Mike Jarvis (guitar) Spencer Blackledge (drums) and Andy Doughty (bass) the album "Here She Comes Again" saw the light of day. The band toured in support of the album, but could not reach out to either their old fans, or the new audience which they desired. Dispirited, that line-up called it a day in 1997. Soon after the collapse of that incarnation of Juicy Lucy, Ray came into contact with Mr Fish. It was immediately obvious to each of them that the other had talent and so they decided to work together. Legal considerations at the time prevented them using the Juicy Lucy name, so they gigged and recorded as "Ray Owen's Moon", a name originally used for Ray's 1973 solo album. Over the course of the next few years there were several changes of personnel working alongside the dynamic duo; another guitarist as well as various drummers and bass players. Finally in 2002 Fletch came on to the scene. Possessing a remakable combination of skill, power and imagination he instantly fitted into place as the final piece of the puzzle and the band achieved a new level. With a renewed enthusiasm the band set about writing, rehearsing and gigging. Although still out in the cold as far as the mainstream of the music industry was concerned, they set about working at the grass roots level. Doing the unthinkable, they were playing original music in pubs and small clubs, getting a great response and building up a following. By 2004 the situation with the Juicy Lucy name had been resolved and it was clear that the band had the capability to repeat, or even exceed, it's earlier success. Sanctuary Records had released "Who Do You Love - the anthology" and interest in the band was being shown from all over the world. By mid-2004 a management deal had been struck and Juicy Lucy was back in business! Following a very successful relaunch of the band on an unsuspecting public on 16th February 2005, held at the famous Eel Pie Club in Twickenham, April 2005 saw the band setting out to gig across the UK. Kicking off supporting Saxon and Wishbone Ash in front of a crowd of 4000, they played at venues from Plymouth to Aberdeen and back again. Whether playing to long time fans from the '70s or to student audiences the response was the same; ecstatic! As one happy audience member was heard to say in Dundee "They're real live f****** rock stars, but nobody knows it yet!". February 2006 saw the band supporting rock legends Nazareth at a string of dates up and down England as well as continuing to headline in their own right. In June 2006 the band went in to The Levellers' Metway Studios in Brighton to work on the first new recordings for twelve years. The value of extensive live performance showed when it came to the recording sessions, with the band completing the tracking for eleven songs in four days! The result of these sessions was "Do That And You'll Lose It", released in September 2006. Over the next two years the band continued to do things the old fashoined way; travelling the length and breadth of the UK, bringing their distinctive brand of blues-rock to the music loving public, building their fan base through hard work, determination and talent. In June 2008 bass player Fudge decided to leave for personal reasons and his role was taken up by the previously unseen but always present James. Not long after that upheaval Ray was taken seriously ill with a collapsed lung. This took him out of action during the height of the summer festival season. While he recovered the band continued to perform as a trio with Mr. Fish taking on vocal duties. Ray returned to the stage after only seven weeks but never managed to achieve full fitness and suffered a re-occurence of his lung problem at the end of October 2008 which required surgery on the lung itself to remove the damaged area. Ray was expected to be fit enough to return to the band early in 2009, but the remaining trio of Mr. Fish, Fletch and James had realised in Ray's absence that changes needed to be made in order for the band to continue to develop both it's music and it's audience. When this was put to Ray in January 2009 he was not in agreement and decided not to return, leaving the core "power trio" to carry the Juicy Lucy legacy into it's 40th year. © www.juicylucyinfo.co.uk/index.html

MORE ABOUT JUICY LUCY

Saucy blues-rockers Juicy Lucy formed in 1969 from the ashes of cult-favorite garage band the Misunderstood, reuniting vocalist Ray Owen, steel guitarist Glenn "Ross" Campbell and keyboardist Chris Mercer; with the additions of guitarist Neil Hubbard, bassist Keith Ellis and drummer Pete Dobson, the group immediately notched a UK Top 20 hit with their reading of the Bo Diddley perennial "Who Do You Love," with their self-titled debut LP falling just shy of the Top 40. Ex-Zoot Money singer Paul Williams, guitarist Mick Moody and drummer Rod Coombes replaced Owen (who exited for a solo career), Hubbard and Dobson for 1970's Lie Back and Enjoy It, with bassist Jim Leverton assuming Ellis' duties for the follow-up, 1971's Get a Whiff a This. The constant turnover clearly took its toll on the group both creatively and commercially, with co-founders Campbell and Mercer both exiting prior to the fourth Juicy Lucy album, 1972's Pieces, which was recorded by a makeshift lineup of Williams, Moody, keyboardist Jean Roussel and the former Blodwyn Pig rhythm section of bassist Andy Pyle and drummer Ron Berg. Juicy Lucy finally disbanded shortly thereafter. Ray Owen revived the name in 1995 for the album Here She Comes Again which found Mike Jarvis (guitar), Andy Doughty (bass), and Spencer Blackledge (drums) rounding out the band. A couple of years later this version of the band broke-up but Owen wanted to keep on going, especially when he formed a musical partnership with a guitarist known as Mr. Fish. Legal problems kept the new band from using the Juicy Lucy name so they gigged as Ray Owen's Moon. By 2004 bassist Fudge and drummer Fletch had joined the band and the legal issue was settled. The new Juicy Lucy spent 2006 working on a new album and touring the U.K. with Nazareth. © Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide, www.answers.com/topic/juicy-lucy-band

30.12.09

Blood, Sweat & Tears




Blood, Sweat & Tears - Live And Improvised - 1991 - Columbia/Legacy

The legendary jazz rock band, Blood, Sweat & Tears was formed in New York in 1967 from of the remnants of the Blues Project , by keyboard player/singer Al Kooper and guitarist Steve Katz of that group and saxophonist Fred Lipsius . The rhythm section consisted of bassist Jim Fielder and drummer Bobby Colomby and the horn section was composed of trumpeters Randy Brecker and Jerry Weiss, and trombonist , Dick Halligan . The band's first album, "Child Is Father To The Man" is now regarded as a masterpiece of jazz rock. The band's self titled album in 1969 with the fabulous vocalist David Clayton-Thomas is another classic album. Many people hold the opinion that these first two albums were never equalled as regards songwriting, and musicianship. The band has played and recorded throughout the last forty years with many different line-ups. Not all of their albums have been successful, even though most of them are good albums. To many people, B,S&T' albums without David Clayton-Thomas' vocals are not regarded as "the real thing". This album was recorded live at: Schaefer Music Festival, New York City, USA on 5 July 1975, City Hall Plaza, Boston, Massachusetts, USA on 20 July 1975, National Arts Center, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on 11/12 August 1975, and Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey, California, USA on 21 September 1975. It showcases the band's stupendous talents to great effect. David Clayton-Thomas' vocals are as usual, superb, and musicians include Steve Khan, Mike Stern, and Georg Wadenius on guitars, and Bill Tillman on sax. This album was also released as "Blood, Sweat & Tears In Concert Live" in 1975/1976 on CBS Records. It's a fabulous live album from one of the greatest jazz rock/R&B bands of all time. It is also V.H.R by A.O.O.F.C. Listen to the band's great "Nuclear Blues" album. The Blood, Sweat & Tears Featuring David Clayton-Thomas' "New City" album is @ DAVCLTH/BS&T/NC You can find the band's "New Blood" album @ BS&T/NB Check out about B,S&T which describes the bands history, brilliantly, and search this blog for other B,S&T related releases

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

CD1
1. Spinning Wheel - David Clayton-Thomas
2. I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know - Al Kooper
3. Lucretia Mac Evil - David Clayton-Thomas
4. And When I Die - Laura Nyro
5. One Room Country Shack - John Lee Hooker
6. And When I Die (Reprise) - Laura Nyro
7. I Can Recall Spain - Al Jarreau, Chick Corea, Artie Maren


CD2
1. Hi-De-Ho "That Old Sweet Roll"- Carole King, Gerry Goffin
2. Unit Seven - Sam Jones
3. Life - Allen Toussaint
4. Mean Ole Worlld - Jerry Lacroix
5. Ride Captain Ride - Skip Konte, Mike Pinera
6. You've Made Me So Very Happy - Berry Gordy, Jr., Patrice Holloway, Brenda Holloway, Frank Wilson

MUSICIANS

David Clayton-Thomas - Vocals
Steve Khan - Guitar, Backing Vocals (National Arts Center)
Mike Stern - Guitar, Backing Vocals (Monterey Jazz Festival)
Georg Wadenius - Guitar, Backing Vocals (City Hall Plaza, Schaefer Festival)
Ron McClure - Bass
Larry Willis - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Bobby Colomby - Drums, Backing Vocals
Don Alias - Percussion, Backing Vocals
Bill Tillman - Saxophone, Flute, Backing Vocals
Dave Bargeron - Trombone, Tuba, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Anthony Klatka, Joe Giorgianni - Trumpet, Backing Vocals

REVIEW

Blood, Sweat & Tears didn't get around to cutting an official live album until they were well past their prime years -- in this case, 1975, long after every original member (and even most of their first-generation successors) except for drummer Bobby Colomby (a true founding member, going back to the Al Kooper lineup) and vocalist David Clayton-Thomas, was gone. But, as Clayton-Thomas was back for the accompanying album, New City, and was with the group on this tour, one supposes that Columbia Records decided to take advantage of its good fortune by taping several shows. For his part, the singer is more mannered and pretentious than ever on most of this album, his singing powerful enough but his instincts pushing him more toward loud, ultimately over-the-top soul strutting, lacking any hint of subtlety. His performance would be more of a problem, except that members of the group also stretch out for solos on trumpet, flügelhorn, etc., on tracks such as "Unit Seven," and extended versions of "Ride Captain Ride" and other numbers, thus counter-balancing his excesses with their own. What's also lacking is some excitement -- in the group's evident desire to emphasize their jazz side while minimizing any rock elements in their playing, they've also banished any tension, or the interplay between rock and jazz elements upon which their original appeal was founded. Numbers like "Spinning Wheel," "Lucretia MacEvil," "And When I Die," and "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" are done in such loose-limbed fashion that, apart from showcasing some virtuoso playing and Clayton-Thomas' more oppressive mannerisms, they're rather weak reinterpretations. It is curious to note, however, that even at this late date, Clayton-Thomas and company were still doing the Al Kooper-era "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know," and were also still utilizing arrangements by Kooper and co-founder Fred Lipsius. On the positive side, along with the presence of those arrangements, the playing is very good, if not always terribly involving, and in those moments when Clayton-Thomas keeps his instincts in check, the material does recapture and expand on the best components of the original group's sound. This album was part of a small group of live recordings done by Columbia during this period -- Donovan's Live in Japan was another -- that were intended for the European and Japanese markets (in later years, there was also a laser disc of a concert from the same tour issued in Japan), where the group was still considered commercially viable. © Bruce Eder, All Music Guide, www.answers.com/topic/live-and-improvised

BIO (BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS)

No late-'60s American group ever started with as much musical promise as Blood, Sweat & Tears, or realized their potential more fully -- and then blew it all in a series of internal conflicts and grotesque career moves. It could almost sound funny, talking about a group that sold close to six million records in three years and then squandered all of that momentum. Then again, considering that none of the founding members ever intended to work together, perhaps the group was "lucky" after a fashion. The roots of Blood, Sweat & Tears lay in one weekend of hastily assembled club shows in New York in July 1967. Al Kooper (born February 5, 1944, Brooklyn, NY) was an ex-member of the Blues Project, in need of money and a fresh start in music. He'd been toying with the notion, growing out of his admiration for jazz bandleader Maynard Ferguson, of forming an electric rock band that would use horns as much as guitarists, and jazz as much as rock as the basis for their music. As he later related, he saw the proposed group coming down somewhere midway between James Brown's Famous Flames and the Count Basie Orchestra. Kooper hoped to raise enough cash to get to London (where he would put such a band together) through a series of gigs involving some big-name friends in New York. When the smoke cleared, there wasn't enough to get him to London, but the gig itself produced a core group of players who were interested in working with him: Jim Fielder (born October 4, 1947, Denton, TX), late of Buffalo Springfield, on bass, whom Kooper brought in from California; Kooper's former Blues Project bandmate, guitarist Steve Katz (born May 9, 1945, Brooklyn, NY); and drummer Bobby Colomby (born December 20, 1944, New York, NY), with whom Katz had been hanging out and also talking about starting a group. Kooper agreed, as long as he was in charge musically -- having just come off of the Blues Project, who'd been organized as a complete cooperative and essentially voted themselves out of existence, he was only prepared to throw into another band if he were calling the shots. This became the group that Kooper had visualized; it would have a horn section that would be as out front as Kooper's keyboards or Katz's guitar. Colomby brought in alto saxman Fred Lipsius (born November 19, 1944, New York, NY), a longtime personal idol, and from there the lineup grew, with Randy Brecker (born November 27, 1945, Philadelphia, PA) and Jerry Weiss (born May 1, 1946, New York, NY) joining on trumpets and flügelhorns, and Dick Halligan (born August 29, 1943, Troy, NY) playing trombone. The new group was signed to Columbia Records, and the name Blood, Sweat & Tears came to Kooper in the wake of an after-hours jam at the Cafe au Go Go, where he'd played with a cut on his hand that had left his organ keyboard covered in blood. The original Blood, Sweat & Tears turned out to be one of the greatest groups that the 1960s ever produced. Their sound, in contrast to R&B outfits that merely used horn sections for embellishment and accompaniment, was a true hybrid of rock and jazz, with a strong element of soul as the bonding agent that held it together; Lipsius, Brecker, Weiss, and Halligan didn't just honk along on the choruses, but played complex, detailed arrangements; Katz played guitar solos as well as rhythm accompaniment, and Kooper's keyboards moved to the fore along with his singing. Their sound was bold, and it was all new when Blood, Sweat & Tears debuted on-stage at the Cafe au Go Go in New York in September 1967, opening for Moby Grape. Audiences at the time were just getting used to the psychedelic explosion of the previous spring and summer, but they were bowled over by what they heard -- that first version of Blood, Sweat & Tears had elements of psychedelia in their work, but extended it into realms of jazz, R&B, and soul in ways that had scarcely been heard before in one band. The songs were attractive and challenging, and the arrangements gave room for Lipsius, Brecker, and others to solo as well as play rippling ensemble passages, while Kooper's organ and Katz's guitar swelled in pulsing, shimmering glory. The group's debut album, Child Is Father to the Man, recorded in just two weeks late in 1967 under producer John Simon, was released to positive reviews in February 1968, and it seemed to portend a great future for all concerned. It remained one of the great albums of its decade, right up there with Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited and the Rolling Stones' Beggars Banquet. The only thing it didn't have, which those other albums did, was a hit single to get radio play and help drive sales. Child Is Father to the Man was out there on its own, invisible to AM radio and the vast majority of the public, awaiting word-of-mouth and whatever help the still fledgling rock press could give it, and the band's touring to promote it. Even as their debut was being recorded, however, elements of discontent had manifested themselves within the group that would sabotage their first tour and their future. At first, these were disagreements about repertory, which grew into issues of control, and then doubts about Kooper's ability as a lead singer. With Colomby and Katz taking the lead, the group broached the idea of getting a new vocalist and moving Kooper over exclusively to playing the organ and composing. By the end of March 1968, with Child Is Father to the Man nudging onto the charts and sales edging toward 100,000 copies and some momentum finally building, Blood, Sweat & Tears blew apart -- Kooper left the lineup, taking a producer's job at Columbia Records; at that same point, Randy Brecker announced his intent to quit. Ironically, at around the same time, Jerry Weiss, who'd actually favored Kooper's ouster, also headed for the door as well, to form the group Ambergris?, which lasted long enough to cut one album in 1970. That might've been the end of their story, except that Bobby Colomby and Steve Katz saw the opportunity to pull their own band out of this debacle. Columbia Records decided to stick with them while Katz and Colomby considered several new singers (including Stephen Stills), and actually got as far as auditioning and rehearsing with Laura Nyro before they found David Clayton-Thomas (born David Thomsett, September 13, 1941, Surrey, England). A Canadian national since the age of five, Clayton-Thomas at the time was performing with his own group at a small club in New York. He came aboard, with Halligan moved over to keyboards, Chuck Winfield (born February 5, 1943, Monessen, PA) and Lew Soloff (born February 20, 1944, Brooklyn, NY) on trumpets, and Jerry Hyman (born May 19, 1947, Brooklyn, NY) succeeding Halligan on the trombone. The new nine-member group reflected Colomby and Katz's vision of a band, which was heavily influenced by the Buckinghams, a mid-'60s outfit they'd both admired for its mix of soul influences and their use of horns -- toward that end, they got James William Guercio, who had previously produced the Buckinghams, as producer for their proposed album. Though Kooper was gone from Blood, Sweat & Tears, the group was forced to rely on a number of songs that he'd prepared for the new album. The resulting album, simply called Blood, Sweat & Tears, was issued 11 months after Child Is Father to the Man, in January 1969. Smoother, less challenging, and more traditionally melodic than its predecessor, it was ambitious in an accessible way, starting with its opening track, an adaptation of French expressionist composer Erik Satie's "Trois Gymnopedies" that transformed the languid early 20th century classical work into a pop standard. Clayton-Thomas was the dominant personality, with Lipsius and the other jazzmen in the band getting their spots in the breaks of each song -- equally important, and rather more telling the singles drawn from the album were all edited down, abbreviating or removing most of the featured spots for the jazz players. The first single by the new group, "You've Made Me So Very Happy," quickly rose to the number two spot on the charts and lofted the album to the top of the LP listings as well. That was followed by "Spinning Wheel" b/w "More and More," which also hit number two, which, in turn, was followed by the group's version of Laura Nyro's "And When I Die," another gold-selling single. When the smoke cleared, that one album had yielded a career's worth of hits in the space of six months, and the LP had won the Grammy as Album of the Year, selling three million copies in the bargain. So much demand was created for work by Blood, Sweat & Tears that the now 18-month-old Child Is Father to the Man, with the different singer and very different sound, made the charts anew in the summer and fall of 1969 and earned a gold record. The group soon faced the problem that every act with a massive success has had to confront -- where do you go from up? By fall 1969, with ten months of massive success behind them, the record company was eager for a follow-up album. The group began recording Blood, Sweat & Tears 3 while the second album was still selling many tens of thousands of copies every week. This time, the group would produce the album themselves, an unusual arrangement for what was still essentially a new group, but one the label agreed to, in the wake of the previous album's sales. And then issues of image and politics entered into the picture. When Al Kooper led the group, there was no question of how hip and tuned in Blood, Sweat & Tears were, to the rock culture and the counterculture -- by his own account, Kooper was a resident "freak" wherever he went in those days, and they were a daring enough ensemble to speak for themselves with their music. But the new group's music, and their use of horns, in particular, was more traditional, and it made them a little suspect among rock listeners. "Spinning Wheel," especially, was the kind of song that invited covers by the likes of Mel Tormé and Sammy Davis, Jr., and was the sort of "rock" hit that your parents didn't mind hearing. And "You've Made Me So Very Happy," for all of the soulfulness of David Clayton-Thomas' singing, also had a kind of jaunty pop-band edge that made the group seem closer in spirit to the Tonight Show band than, say, to the Rolling Stones. Compounding the uncertainty of just who and what Blood, Sweat & Tears were, and how cool they were, was a decision that they made in early 1970, to undertake a tour of Eastern Europe on behalf of the U.S. State Department. A few other rock bands had played Eastern Europe before, but never on behalf of a government, much less one that, at that particular time, was singularly unpopular with a lot of Blood, Sweat & Tears' potential fan base over the war in Vietnam. There was something horribly wrong with this picture in May 1970, but the group was oblivious to it. The reason for the tour was a practical one, according to some sources. Clayton-Thomas was a Canadian with very uncertain visa status in the United States, and the State Department indicated that it would be a lot more agreeable about their singer working here if the band did them this favor. It was a coup for the administration, getting one of the hottest rock acts in the world to represent the government in the Eastern bloc nations -- but it also took place just at the time of the Kent State massacre, in which four students were shot to death by National Guardsmen, an event that Nixon chose to capitalize on politically. And it got worse when they came back, after seeing the police in Bucharest, in particular, take a violent hand to any audience spontaneity; a statement was issued on the group's behalf, upon their return, trumpeting the virtues of American freedom -- this, one month after Kent State, with the murders of the students still an open wound and the reactionary rioting that had ensued in cities like New York (where the police had done nothing to stop a mob of construction workers from attacking anyone with long hair and invading City Hall) still fresh in peoples' minds. In June 1970, Blood, Sweat & Tears were the only act hipper than the Johnny Mann Singers putting out feel-good messages about the United States government. It was on their return to America, amid these dubious career moves, that Blood, Sweat & Tears 3 was released. Under the best of conditions, it would have been too much to hope that it could match its predecessor, and the truth was that it didn't. Despite some attractive songs, the album never achieved the same mix of accessibility and inspiration displayed by the earlier album. The album shipped gold and topped the LP charts for two weeks in mid-1970, and the single "Hi-De-Ho" made it to number 14, but the edge was off and the numbers didn't keep soaring week after week as the sales of their prior two LPs had. More troubling, the group was starting to get criticized in the rock press, not directly for their State Department tour -- though that couldn't have made a lot of reviewers and columnists too predisposed to go easy on the band -- but over who and what they were (and that was where the infamous tour did enter into the picture). A lot of rock critics felt that Blood, Sweat & Tears were a pretentious pop group that dabbled in horn riffs, while others argued that they were a jazz outfit trying to pass as a rock band -- either way, they weren't "one of us" or part of who we were. Oddly enough, some members of the jazz press liked them, but that was small help -- at any time after the early '40s, jazz reviewers in America reached no more than a small percentage of listeners. And regardless of what the critics said, a lot of serious jazz listeners who were the same age as the bandmembers thought the group was fluff, jazz-lite. Their image problem grew only worse when the group accepted an engagement to appear at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas -- the gambling mecca had never been known as friendly to current rock acts, and the group felt it was doing journeyman service by opening up Caesar's Palace to performers under 30. Instead, it multiplied their difficulties -- Vegas and what it represented were almost as bad as Nixon. In the meantime, another act, Chicago, produced by James William Guercio, broke big in 1970, also on the Columbia label, and avoided all of these pitfalls and internal problems and ended up stealing a huge chunk of Blood, Sweat & Tears' audience. It seemed as though, after an extraordinary run of luck, the group couldn't catch a break; their musical contribution to the Barbra Streisand film The Owl and the Pussycat did nothing to enhance their image. The group's fourth album, begun in early 1971, was the first that ran into real trouble in the making, which showed from the presence of three producers in the credits, and even Kooper was represented in the songwriting and arranging department. The fourth album, issued in June 1971, peaked at number ten on the charts, nowhere near the top, and none of its singles cracked the Top 30. It was around this time that the membership began shifting and splintering. By 1971, the group was basically divided into three factions, the rock rhythm section pitted against the jazz players, and the singer between them both, and no one happy with what anyone else was doing. Clayton-Thomas no longer enjoyed working with the rest of the band and chose to exit after the release of the fourth album to pursue a solo career. Despite this loss, the group carried on, and the label was willing to carry them a bit longer -- after all, Blood, Sweat & Tears had sold a lifetime's worth of LPs, and the two subsequent albums, though disappointing in its wake, were respectable successes by any conventional standard, and one always hopes that lightning will strike twice. Bob Doyle took the vocalist spot for a few months, and was then replaced by Jerry Fisher; elsewhere in the lineup, Fred Lipsius, who'd been there from the start and had put the original horn section together, finally called it quits and was replaced by Joe Henderson, who, in turn, was succeeded by Lou Marini, Jr., and Dick Halligan, who'd replaced Kooper on keyboards after the first band's breakup, was succeeded by Larry Willis, while Steve Katz got a second guitarist to play off of in the person of George Wadenius. All of these personnel changes led to an extended period of inactivity for the band, which Columbia Records made up for by releasing Blood, Sweat & Tears' Greatest Hits in 1972 -- this was probably a little sooner than they might otherwise have done it, under ideal circumstances, but the album became a Top 20 album and earned a gold record award and was a very popular catalog item for many years; one advantage that its original LP version offered the casual fan was that its songs were all the shorter, single edits of their hits, which were otherwise only available on the original 45 rpm records. In September 1972, this lineup released an album, appropriately enough called New Blood, which never made the Top 30 despite some good moments, accompanied by a single, "So Long Dixie," which didn't crack the Top 40. By this time, they'd turned more toward jazz, recognizing that the rock audience was slowly drifting out of their reach. Founding members Jim Fielder and Steve Katz called it quits during this period, Katz preferring to work in the more rock-oriented orbit of Lou Reed. With replacements aboard, Blood, Sweat & Tears continued performing, but their next LP, humorously (or was it ominously?) entitled No Sweat, released in 1973, never rose higher than number 72 on the charts, and that was a hit compared to its successor, Mirror Image, which peaked at number 149. By this time, people were passing through the lineup like a revolving door, and even Jaco Pastorius put in some time playing bass for the group, all without leaving much of an impression on the public. The plug might've been pulled right about here, but for the return of Clayton-Thomas, whose solo career had fizzled. Now fronting an outfit billed officially as Blood, Sweat & Tears Featuring David Clayton-Thomas, they released a modestly successful comeback album, New City, in 1975, which -- despite a few lapses in creativity and taste, and a range that encompassed Allen Toussant ("Life") and Randy Newman ("Naked Man," complete with a Mozartian digression) -- featured some of the group's best jazz sides in years as well as superb performances by Clayton-Thomas. The latter included a rare venture (for this group) into acoustic guitar blues on their rendition of John Lee Hooker's "One Room Country Shack." The accompanying single, a version of the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life" (which, peculiarly enough, anticipated the single release of a remixed version of the British band's own recording) never made the Top 40, but the album did well enough to justify an ambitious tour that yielded a double-LP concert album, Live and Improvised, that was issued in Europe (and, 15 years later, in America). Columbia Records dropped the group in 1976, and a brief association with ABC Records led nowhere. The group was caught between their former Columbia rivals Chicago, who continued to get airplay and chart regularly with new releases, and purer jazz ensembles such as Return to Forever and Weather Report, who had captured the moment in the press and before the public. In the end, even Bobby Colomby, who had trademarked the group's name very early after Kooper's exit in 1968, gave up playing in the band, taking a corporate position at Columbia. Clayton-Thomas has kept the band alive in the decades since, fronting various lineups that continue to perform regularly and record sporadically, mostly updated renditions of their classic material. The advent of the CD era, and the release of expanded versions of their first two albums, fostered new interest in the group's early history, which was furthered by the 1990s release of Kooper's Soul of a Man, which presented new concert renditions of the 1967-era group's repertory. During the first decade of the 21st century, Wounded Bird Records also belatedly reissued the band's post-BST4 albums on CD, with surprising success -- New Blood and, even more so, New City, sounded quite good musically, divorced from their origins by almost 30 years. The group name remains alive behind Clayton-Thomas, and their recordings through 1972 -- especially the first album -- still elicit a powerful response from those millions who've heard them. © Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

29.12.09

Kevin Ayers




Kevin Ayers - BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert - 1992 - Windsong

"nobly idiosynchratic and genuinely timeless" David Sheppard, Mojo magazine 2008
"one of the great voices in British music." Simon Reynolds, Observer Music Monthly 2008

Live set by reformed Whole World (Ayers, Bedford, Coxhill, Oldfield and Dufort) and 12 piece orchestra, recorded at the Paris Theatre, London on 6/1/72 and broadcast on 15/1/72 for the BBC in London. The purpose of the concert was to promote Kevin's great "Whatevershebringswesing" album. Often regarded as an eccentric, and whimsical musician, and known for his distaste for self-promotion, England's Kevin Ayers, the son of a diplomat, is an important figure in the development of English Psychedelic/Progressive rock. One newspaper journalist called him "The Unsung Hero of Psychedelia". Kevin may best be remembered as a founder and vocalist of the great 70's Canterbury Rock band, "Soft Machine", and was always closely associated with the Canterbury genre. His Canterbury associations include Caravan, and Gong's Daevid Allen. Kevin has also worked with artists like Colosseum, Brian Eno, and the late Ollie Halsall of the brilliant band, Patto. Many critics say that Kevin's live performances can be "erratic" and "overexperimental". It is true that Kevin Ayers' music is eclectic. There is free-form jazz, symphonic rock, and avant-garde elements in his music, and he has always been a "genre hopper". Kevin Ayers has said himself, "It’s just the way I am—it’s as simple as that—and it’s to my disadvantage, I think. If you think about most best-selling albums, they’re all basically one tone, one direction, repeating the same thing over and over again. I just wasn’t able to do that. But there certainly wasn’t any showing off in it at all, I can assure you. That’s just how my mind works". This live album is an excellent example of some of Kevin Ayers' best songs. Again, as stated before on this blog, don't let terms like avant-garde, abstract, or free-form jazz deter you from listening to music like this. In a recent interview, Kevin Ayers said, "I don’t really listen to pop music these days. I listen to jazz—the old jazz—and classical music. I’m not trying to be snobby about it; there’s just so much crap around. I turn the radio on, and listen, and I just have to turn it off again. I’ll listen to world music, but mainstream pop, or whatever, I just find to be totally uninteresting". The guy has a point. Listen to Kevin's incredible "Whatevershebringswesing" album, and for music in a similar vein, listen to Matching Mole's 1972 s/t album.

TRACKS

1 Lady Rachael 6:36
2 May I 4:00
3 Clarence In Wonderland 5:02
4 Whatevershebringswesing 6:36
5 There Is Loving 6:55
6 Margaret 3:36
7 Colores Para Dolores 6:21
8 Crazy Gift Of Time 4:52
9 Why Are We Sleeping 12:05 [ N.B: This track has a guitar solo that Mike Oldfield reused at the end of Tubular Bells Part Two. ]

All songs composed by Kevin Ayers

MAIN MUSICIANS

Guitar, Vocals - Kevin Ayers
Guitar - Mike Oldfield
Bass - Archie Leggatt
Keyboards - David Bedford
Saxophone - Lol Coxhill

N.B: This album was re-released as Disc 1 of Too Old To Die Young in 1998. The actual concert sequence was Track 2, 5, 6, 4, 3, 7, 1, 8, & 9. The concert was introduced by the BBC presenter, "Whistling" Bob Harris, famous for his BBC TV prog. rock programme, "The Old Grey Whistle Test", which introduced many great bands to the public

BIO

Kevin Ayers is one of rock's oddest and more likable enigmas, even if often he's seemed not to operate at his highest potential. Perhaps that's because he's never seemed to have taken his music too seriously — one of his essential charms and most aggravating limitations. Since the late '60s, he's released many albums with a distinctly British sensibility, making ordinary lyrical subjects seem extraordinary with his rich low vocals, inventive wordplay, and bemused, relaxed attitude. Apt to flavor his songs with female backup choruses and exotic island rhythms, the singer/songwriter inspires the image of a sort of progressive rock beach bum, writing about life's absurdities with a celebratory, relaxed detachment. Yet he is also one of progressive rock's more important (and more humane) innovators, helping to launch the Soft Machine as their original bassist, and working with noted European progressive musicians like Mike Oldfield, Lol Coxhill, and Steve Hillage. Ayers cultivated a taste for the bohemian lifestyle early, spending much of his childhood in Majorca before he moved with his mother to Canterbury in the early '60s. There he fell in with the town's fermenting underground scene, which included future members of the Soft Machine and Caravan. For a while he sang with the Wilde Flowers, a group that also included future Softs Robert Wyatt and Hugh Hopper. He left in 1965, met fellow freak Daevid Allen in Majorca, and returned to the U.K. in 1966 to found the first lineup of the Soft Machine with Allen, Wyatt, and Mike Ratledge. Wyatt is usually regarded as the prime mover behind the Soft Machine, but Ayers' contributions carried equal weight in the early days. Besides playing bass, he wrote and sang much of their material. He can be heard on their 1967 demos and their 1968 debut album, but by the end of 1968 he felt burned out and quit. Selling his bass to Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, he began to write songs on guitar, leading to a contract with Harvest in 1969. His relationship with his ex-Soft Machine mates remained amiable; in fact, Wyatt and Ratledge (as well as Ayers' replacement, Hugh Hopper) guested on Ayers' 1969 debut. Ayers' solo material reflected a folkier, lazier, and gentler bent than the Soft Machine. In some respects he was comparable to Syd Barrett, without the madness — and without the ferocious heights of Barrett's most innovative work. Ayers was never less than enjoyable and original, though his albums were erratic right from the start, veering from singalong ditties and pleasant, frothy folk ballads to dissonant improvisation. The more ambitious progressive rock elements came to the forefront when he fronted the Whole World in the early '70s. The backing band included a teenage Mike Oldfield on guitar, Lol Coxhill on sax, and David Bedford on piano. But Ayers only released one album with them before they dissolved. Ayers continued to release albums in a poppier vein throughout the '70s, at a regular pace. As some critics have noted, this dependable output formed an ironic counterpoint to much of his lyrics, which often celebrated a life of leisure, or even laziness. That lazy charm was often a dominant feature of his records, although Ayers always kept things interesting with offbeat arrangements, occasionally singing in foreign tongues, and flavoring his production with unusual instruments and world music rhythms. He (or Harvest) never gave up on the singles market, and indeed his best early-'70s efforts in that direction were accessible enough to have been hits with a little more push. Or a little less weirdness. Even Ayers at his most accessible and direct wasn't mainstream, a virtue that endeared him to his loyal cult. That cult was limited to the rock underground, and Ayers logically concentrated on the album market throughout the 1970s. Almost always pleasant, eccentric, and catchy, these nonetheless started to sound like a cul-de-sac by the mid-'70s. Ayers pressed on without changing his approach, despite the dwindling audience for progressive rock and the oncoming train of punk and new wave. He only recorded sporadically after 1980, though he remained active in the early 1990s, mostly on the European continent. The 2007 release The Unfairground was first 21st Century release. © Richie Unterberger, allmusic.com, http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:09fyxqr5ldae~T1



MORE ABOUT KEVIN AYERS

Kevin Ayers is one of the finest and most influential musical talents to have emerged in Britain during the mayhem and madness of the late Sixties. Yet like peer and fellow Harvest records pioneer Syd Barrett, he has always been profoundly uneasy with the self-promotion that the pop music world demands. In fact, he abhors it. Ayers is an English eccentric, a supreme raconteur, a maverick innovator who has always remained true to his musical ideals and for these reasons his legacy is being celebrated by a new generation of performers today. Ayers commands a devoted following throughout the world, gained through a succession of unique and innovative albums. He redrew the boundaries of songwriting, fusing wit, wisdom and eccentric observation to produce music of lasting originality. Born in Herne Bay, Kent on August 16th 1944, Ayers moved, with his family, to Malaysia when he was six years old, as his stepfather took up a position as a District Officer. Returning to Herne Bay at the age of twelve, the young Kevin sought the physical and mental freedom of his earlier childhood. This search eventually led to Canterbury and a circle of bohemian friends with Robert Wyatt at its core. At the large Georgian house owned by Robert’s mother, Honor, Kevin shared the company of Hugh and Brian Hopper, Mike Ratledge and a drifting Australian beatnik, Daevid Allen, spending many hours listening to modern jazz and being immersed in the world of beat poetry and Dadaist art. By June 1963 this group of people had formed the band The Wilde Flowers with Robert Wyatt on drums, Hugh Hopper on bass, Brian Hopper on guitar and saxophone, Richard Sinclair on rhythm guitar and Kevin Ayers as vocalist. Wilde Flowers would go through many changes with musicians such as Richard Coughlan and Pye Hastings joining the outfit. In 1965 Ayers travelled to Deya in Mallorca with Robert Wyatt to stay with the poet Robert Graves; lured by the prospect of good weather, blue sea and a relaxed life style. O n a subsequent trip to the island Ayers and Allen were introduced to Wes Brunson, an American who was heir to a fortune and in search of bohemia. Brunson urged the two travellers to start a serious band, lavishing sums of money on them in the process. In the early Autumn of 1966 the pair returned to Canterbury and enlisted the services of Robert Wyatt, Mike Ratledge and, briefly, guitarist Larry Nolan to form Soft Machine. The remnants of Wilde Flowers, (Pye Hastings, Richard Coughlan and Richard Sinclair) eventually formed the equally influential band Caravan. Soft Machine, along with Pink Floyd, soon became the darlings of the burgeoning London psychedelic scene, with their legendary performances at the UFO club on Tottenham Court Road securing them a one-off single contract with Polydor records. The resulting release “Love Makes Sweet Music” b/w “Feelin’ Reelin’ Squealin’” gained a number 28 spot on pirate radio station Radio London’s chart, but failed to make any impact on the national listings. Polydor declined an option to release further Soft Machine work and the band spent April of 1967 working on a series of demos with producer Giorgio Gomelsky. Following a string of concert dates in France and a summer spent on the beaches of St. Tropez, Daevid Allen was refused re-entry into the UK at Dover due to “irregularities” with his passport. This left Soft Machine to continue as a trio with Allen travelling to Paris to eventually form the band Gong. Soft Machine were signed by Jimi Hendrix’s management team of Mike Jeffrey and Chas Chandler and the band undertook an absurdly long tour of the USA as support to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, which lasted from February to August 1968. In April Soft Machine took three days out in New York to record their eponymous debut album with producer Tom Wilson which featured outstanding Ayers compositions such as “Why Are We Sleeping?” and “Joy of a Toy” . Exhausted by their tour, Ayers retreated to Mallorca, to be replaced in Soft Machine by the band’s roadie and friend, Hugh Hopper. Ayers spent time in Deya writing songs with an acoustic guitar. He returned to England and recorded a series of demos on a Bayercord four-track tape recorder in Herne Bay. These caught the attention of Peter Jenner and Andrew King, original managers of Pink Floyd and now proprietors of Blackhill Enterprises, organisers of the Hyde Park Free Concerts and managers of Syd Barrett, Roy Harper and the Edgar Broughton Band among others. Signing to Blackhill Enterprises led to Ayers becoming one of the first artists to secure a contract with EMI’s newly established label, Harvest. In July 1969 Ayers entered Abbey Road studios under the supervision of producer Peter Jenner with a group of musicians that included Robert Wyatt on drums and arranger David Bedford on keyboards. The music that would be recorded over the ensuing eight weeks would comprise one of the most enduring and original albums to appear on the Harvest label. The arranging skills of David Bedford came to the fore on pieces such as “Joy of a Toy” and “Town Feeling” (which featured a beautiful oboe part played by Paul Minns). Other highlights destined to achieve legendary status in the Ayers canon were the evocative “Girl on a Swing” and “Song for Insane Times” which featured Ayers’ old band, Mike Ratledge and Robert Wyatt. Ratledge contributed his distinctive keyboard sound to the gloriously psychedelic “Stop this Train (Again Doing It)”, a track which began with an innovative use of a gradually sped up tape recorder to simulate the sound of a steam train gathering momentum. Equally enduring would be “Eleanor’s Cake (Which Ate Her)” a vignette featuring a charming David Bedford arrangement. Perhaps the definitive Ayers track recorded in those summer months of 1969 was “The Lady Rachel”, a song that immediately became (and remains) a Kevin Ayers live favourite. Such was the appeal of “The Lady Rachel” that in February 1972 the song was re-recorded at Abbey Road studios with a full and dramatic orchestral arrangement written by David Bedford. Originally intended for release in the USA as part of an abandoned Ayers compilation project, the track eventually appeared in a shortened and remixed form on the compilation Odd Ditties in February 1976. A final session took place in September 1969 to record the superb “Soon Soon Soon”. The song featured a refrain of Ayers’ composition “We Know What You Mean”, a track recorded by Soft Machine in April 1967. Joy of a Toy was released in December 1969. Although failing to make the UK chart listings, the album made a significant impact on the ever growing “progressive” audience and was critically acclaimed. With pressure to produce a single now on, Kevin retreated to Herne Bay and composed “Singing a Song in the Morning”, an extremely catchy celebration of the joy of living. Sessions were duly booked at Abbey Road. Kevin was an avid enthusiast of former Pink Floyd front man and wayward genius, Syd Barrett, and felt Syd’s contribution could enhance his latest composition. On the way to Abbey Road studios, Kevin called into Barrett’s flat and requested his presence on the session. And so it was on November 9th 1969 Ayers and Barrett worked on the first version of of the song which was then titled “Religious Experience”. Take 9 proved to be the master take and overdubs were undertaken onto the eight-track master. A finished mix, long since lost from the archives, was cut onto several acetate discs and taken away by various parties for evaluation. After some consideration it was felt that Syd Barrett’s psychedelic guitar contribution was too chaotic and the track overlong. The decision was made to re-record “Religious Experience”. Over the years, rumours and supposed bootlegs abounded of the legendary “lost” Syd Barrett session. Eventually in 2003 the recording appeared as a bonus track on the remastered CD reissue of Joy of a Toy. Further work on “Religious Experience” was undertaken on December 21st 1969, resulting in a final single master being completed. Re-titled “Singing a Song in the Morning”, the song was coupled with “Eleanor’s Cake (which ate her)” and was released as the single Harvest HAR 5011 on April 19th 1970. By the time of its release Ayers was already considering his next album for Harvest records, Shooting at the Moon. For the recording of the album, Kevin assembled a full time band for recording and touring purposes. The absence of a regular group had hampered the promotion of “Joy of a Toy” on the concert stage, so to counteract this , Ayers’ new group, The Whole World, were ready to tour. Featuring David Bedford on keyboards, Lol Coxhill on saxophone, Mick Fincher on drums and a young introverted guitarist and bass player, Mike Oldfield, the Whole World was an amalgam of musical styles and backgrounds. Sessions for the album Shooting at the Moon, began in April 1970 and reflected the diversity of influences within Kevin’s band. As a result the record was considerably different in character from Joy of a Toy. The album’s title track was based on the early Ayers composition “Jet Propelled Photograph”, recorded in 1967 by Soft Machine, and was an excellent up tempo track with psychedelic overtones. Stylistically different, “May I?” reflected a suave continental influence and ranks as one of Kevin’s finest moments. Equally excellent, although considerably different in feel was the marvellous “Rheinhardt and Geraldine / Colores Para Delores”, an altogether darker work. “The Oyster and the Flying Fish” was a lighter affair featuring the guest vocalist Bridget St. John, a singer-songwriter of considerable talent who was signed to DJ John Peel’s Dandelion label. Kevin would return the favour by appearing on Bridget’s single “If You’ve Got Money”, released in November 1970. To coincide with the release of Shooting at the Moon, Harvest also issued “Butterfly Dance” c/w “Puis Je?” (a French language version of “May I?”), perhaps one of Kevin’s most convincing singles. The Whole World continued to tour Europe until the early Summer of 1971 when Ayers disbanded the group before commencing work on his third solo album. Retaining the services of David Bedford as keyboard player and arranger and Mike Oldfield on guitar and bass, sessions began for the album Whatevershebringswesing in July. One of the earliest tracks to be recorded was the remarkable “There is Loving / Among Us / There is Loving”, which began with an orchestral motif that was also used on the track “Butterfly Dance” the previous year. This motif gave way to an impressive and lengthy Ayers composition that would prove to be one of the highlights of this album. Early July also saw the recording of another Ayers classic, “Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes” and the equally appealing “Stars”. Both tracks were chosen for release as a single in August 1971 as Harvest HAR 5042. Although gaining some airplay, the single failed to chart. Another early recording in these sessions was the dark and experimental “Song from the Bottom of a Well”, an unusually sinister Ayers composition that benefited from the latest Abbey Road studio trickery. Other notable material recorded included “Margaret”, “Oh My” and the classic Whatevershebringswesing, which saw Kevin duet to great effect with Robert Wyatt. In August 1971, following some intensive weeks of recording, Kevin undertook a series of European concerts with Daevid Allen’s outfit, Gong. The pairing proved to be a successful one, and rumours circulated that Kevin was planning to join Allen’s group of self-titled “pot head pixies”, although the fiercely independent creative minds of both Allen and Ayers meant such a union eventually failed to materialise. The album Whatevershebringswesing was released in January 1972 and fared better than Shooting at the Moon both commercially and critically. Unfortunately the release of the album coincided with Ayers being without a permanent band for live work, and, so there was no lengthy tour to promote the record, although a memorable performance for the BBC Radio One In Concert programme was staged at the Paris Theatre in London with a 12-piece orchestra arranged and conducted by David Bedford. It was around this time that Ayers began to work with bass guitarist Archie Leggett, a musician introduced to Kevin by Daevid Allen. The two musicians began to work together on an occasional basis under the name Kevin Ayers and Archibald. After a period of recuperation during which Kevin composed a selection of new songs, work began on the album Bananamour in June 1972 with a variety of musicians including Leggett, Eddie Sparrow, Robert Wyatt, Mike Ratledge, Steve Hillage and others. Bananamour featured some remarkably strong material such as “Don’t Let it Get You Down”, “Interview” (a song inspired by the inane questions music journalists frequently asked their subjects), “Decadence” (a tune inspired and dedicated to Nico, chanteuse with the Velvet Underground) and the delightful “Oh, Wot a Dream!” (dedicated to Syd Barrett). In November 1972 Ayers unveiled a new band, Decadence, which featured Steve Hillage, Archie Leggett and Eddie Sparrow. After a series of British dates the band spent the month of December touring France. The end of the tour also saw the demise of Decadence as Steve Hillage opted to remain in France to work with Gong. April 1973 saw Ayers unite with another group, 747, a band formed by Archie Leggett, featuring Leggett on bass alongside Cal Batchelor (guitar), Gerry Fitzgerald (guitar), Henry Crallan (keyboards) and Henry Smith (drums), to promote the release of the single “Caribbean Moon” b/w “Take Me to Tahiti” and the album Bananamour. In May, 747 toured the UK successfully, culminating in a special concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. For this performance the band were augmented on stage by Liza Strike, Doris Troy and Barry St. John. A mobile recording unit was despatched by Harvest records to capture the event on 8-track tape. The recording of the concert was full of atmosphere - a fine example of Ayers at his best on stage. However, it remained consigned to the EMI vaults until now - mixed from the original multi-track master tapes – it is now added as the final disc in this four CD collection. Thirty five years later, it is now possible to hear the recordings made that night in their true context, as a document of a key point in Ayers’ career. One month after this memorable concert, Kevin was to return to the Queen Elizabeth Hall to take part in the live performance of a work by his former musical associate, Mike Oldfield, Tubular Bells. The release of Bananamour saw Kevin’s contract with Harvest records fulfilled and he left the label to sign to Island. He began his short association with Chris Blackwell’s label with the release of The Confessions of Doctor Dream and Other Stories. Recorded at AIR studios in London, the album featured an impressive cast of musicians, including Mike Oldfield, Mike Giles, Caravan members Geoffrey Richardson and John G. Perry, Lol Coxhill and Nico. The material recorded was of high standard, with the lengthy title track dominating the proceedings. Also of note were “It Begins with a Blessing / Once I Awakened / But it Ends with a Curse”, a reworking of the Soft Machine classic “Why Are We Sleeping”, “See You Later” and the brief “Ballbearing Blues”. Significantly, the record would also be the first occasion that Kevin worked with the very gifted guitarist, Ollie Halsall. Halsall had previously been a member of the band Patto and over the next eighteen years would contribute much to Kevin’s work both on record and on stage. The release of The Confessions of Doctor Dream was followed on June 1st 1974 by a concert at the Rainbow Theatre in London which saw Kevin headline a bill that included, Nico, Brian Eno and John Cale. It showcased music of all these artists and featured guest appearances by Mike Oldfield, Robert Wyatt, Archie Legget and Eddie Sparrow. The result was recorded by Island records, mixed, edited and compiled to be released just 28 days later. But the record drew a mixed reaction, leaving Kevin feeling dissatisfied with the event. Largely this was due to Kevin being at odds with Island Records' attempts to make him a big star, a role which he has always been too self - effacing and knowing to embrace. Kevin’s second album for Island, Sweet Deceiver, was released in March 1975. Recorded at the Manor studios in Oxfordshire, it was a further break from his musical past and included musicians with whom Kevin had never previously worked. Ayers assumed production duties with Ollie Halsall and the album offered some fine compositions, opening with “Observations”, a piece of Ayers commentary that set the tone of the record . Another outstanding track was “Toujours la Voyage” which featured Elton John on piano. Songs such as “Diminished but Not Finished” and “Farewell Again” were also classic Ayers, although elements of the music press felt that Kevin was treading water creatively. Partly as a result of this reaction to Sweet Deceiver and partly through increasing unhappiness with Island records, Kevin left the label and re - signed with Harvest records in 1976. He also, at this time, departed England for good taking up permanent residence first in France and then in his old haunt Deya, Mallorca. The first fruit of this new life was the much improved “Yes, We Have No Mananas”, an album that saw Kevin hand over production duties to Muff Winwood and deliver some tremendous new compositions. For the sessions, Kevin was joined once more by Ollie Halsall, along with an impressive array of talents including Zoot Money, Rob Townsend, Charlie McCracken, Andy Roberts, Rick Wills and B.J. Cole. “Yes I Do” was one of the most achingly beautiful ballads Ayers had written . “Love’s Gonna Turn You Round”, a more optimistic tune, provides a contrast. “Blue” was vintage Ayers, with its effective choral arrangement by David Bedford and a superb solo from Ollie Halsall which brought the album to a close. Kevin continued his association with Harvest in April 1978 with the release of Rainbow Takeaway. Although it was now the height of Punk rock, Kevin stuck firmly to his musical convictions and delivered a record that featured the outstanding “Ballad of a Salesman Who Sold Himself” which segued into “A View from a Mountain”. “Beware of the Dog 2” was a fine up tempo highlight, whilst the closing piece was the marvellous piece of nonsense, “Hat Song”, a tune which had been performed by Kevin since 1970 and had originally been recorded by the Whole World during sessions for “Shooting at the Moon”. Kevin’s final album for Harvest was released in March 1980. That’s What You Get, Babe still divides Kevin Ayers fans. Some see it as a brave attempt to get to grips with a rapidly changing musical climate, while others see its production style as unsuited to Kevin’s music. Whatever, the record did have redeeming features such as “Money, Money, Money”, “Super Salesman” and the wonderful “Where do the Stars End”. Ayers retreated back to Deya in Mallorca to reconsider his musical future. In December 1980 he recorded a series of songs at Maller studios in Palma de Mallorca with Spanish musicians, although Ollie Halsall made a guest appearance. These recordings were to remain unreleased until 1984 when they appeared in Spain as the album Deia Vu. Kevin re-emerged in Europe in 1983 with the album Diamond Jack and the Queen of Pain which appeared on the Charly label to a mixed reaction. This was followed in 1986 with As Close as You Think on the Illuminated label. Neither revived Kevin’s commercial fortunes. However, the following year Kevin gained attention from the music press when he guested on Mike Oldfield’s album Islands. It was thanks to Oldfield that Ayers ' next album, Falling Up appeared on the Virgin label in Britain and Germany in 1988. This featured a gathering of Spanish musicians alongside Ollie Halsall and a guest appearance from Mike Oldfield and was an improvement upon Ayers’ 1980s output to this point. Kevin entered the new decade with Still Life with Guitar, perhaps one of his better post-Harvest albums. Released in 1992, it featured an impressive cast of musicians, including Ollie Halsall, Mike Oldfield, Anthony Moore, B.J. Cole and Danny Thompson. Kevin embarked on a series of well received concerts with Halsall to promote the album. Sadly, in May 1992, Halsall died suddenly of a drug related heart attack. The music world lost a great and uniquely gifted guitarist and Kevin a close friend. Aside from the occasional concert appearance, Kevin Ayers shied away from recording for the next decade and a half, whilst his earlier work was attracting reappraisal and acclaim. In September 2007 he re-emerged with the studio album The Unfairground, widely cited as one of the finest of his career. On the record he was joined by a host of musicians whom he had influenced, such as Teenage Fanclub and Ladybug Transistor alongside old friends such as Bridget St. John, Phil Mazenera and Hugh Hopper. This record led to the widest press coverage Kevin had received since the 1970s and proved that the compositional genius that began with his work with Soft Machine and continued on a succession of wonderful albums in the 1970s was still alive. © Mark Powell 2008, www.kevin-ayers.com/aboutbottom.html

28.12.09

Pierre Moerlen's Gong




Pierre Moerlen's Gong - Full Circle Live '88 - 1998 - Outer Music

Deviating from the "Canterbury Rock" style, the late Pierre Moerlen created some wonderful progressive jazz rock/fusion. This live album, recorded live June '88 in Bremen, Germany, is a great example of his musical talent. Pierre Moerlen was a musical genius, and his expertise in the percussive field was unequalled. His music was innovative and futuristic, and as a member of the great Franco-British progressive/psychedelic rock band, Gong, he created some of the greatest prog. rock of the last forty years. Gong has many offshoots in the Rock tree, and it would take far too much details to elaborate on some of the great progressive rock work of Pierre Moerlen, Daevid Allen, and Gong on this blog. Listen to Pierre Moerlen's Gong's "Downwind", and "Gazeuse!" albums, and search this blog for other Pierre Moerlen/Gong related releases.

TRACKS

1 Prologue
2 Second Wind 6:32
3 Deep End 4:48
4 Exotic 8:54
5 Leave It Open 10:00
6 Drum Alone 6:08
7 Soli 9:22
8 Breakthrough 6:55
9 Xstasea 6:08

All songs composed by Pierre Moerlen, except "Soli", by Hansford Rowe

N.B: Most album listings, reviews, etc say that this is an 8 track album + 1 hidden track. Normally, Track 1 is listed as "Second Wind", and Track 8 as " Xstasea". There is no hidden track. The first track is a 36 second intro of Pierre talking to the audience. The remaining tracks are the eight tracks listed. The album is posted as such on this blog

MUSICIANS

Drums, Gong, Percussion - Pierre Moerlen
Guitar - Ake Zieden
Bass - Hansford Rowe
Vibraphone - Benoit Moerlen , Stefan Traub

PIERRE MOERLEN'S GONG BIO (WIKIPEDIA)

Pierre Moerlen's Gong is a jazz fusion outfit which is very different from the first incarnation of Gong, the psychedelic space-rock act led by Daevid Allen. It is notable for the prominent use of mallet percussion, such as marimba, xylophone, and vibraphone featured in a rock/jazz context, making for a very distinctive and unusual sound that could have been classified as warmer and more melodic than most typical fusion could be, and is comparable to the sort of fusion-influenced output many bands on the Canterbury scene were producing at around this time. Amid a flurry of lineup changes in the mid-1970s, including the departure of founding members Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth, Gong drummer Pierre Moerlen found himself in charge of the band and with two albums remaining on their Virgin recording contract. Moerlen formed a new Gong lineup featuring his brother Benoit on mallet percussion, US-born bassist Hansford Rowe and a rotating cast of session guitarists, notably Allan Holdsworth, Mike Oldfield, ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, and Bon Lozaga. They released two albums under the Gong moniker, Gazeuse! (called Expresso in North America) in 1977 and then Expresso II in 1978. Following the completion of the Virgin contract, Moerlen changed the name of the group to Pierre Moerlen's Gong, presumably to distance itself from its very different previous incarnation. In early 1979, the group released Downwind, which was a more rock/pop flavoured album that featured occasional lead vocals by Moerlen himself and a cameo by Steve Winwood. Later in 1979 they released another album, Time is the Key, that took the band further into pop/rock territory. The live album "PM's Gong Live" was released in 1980, followed later that year by another studio album Leave It Open. By this point, Pierre Moerlen's incarnation of Gong scaled back its activity greatly, not releasing another record until 1986's Scientology-inspired Breakthrough, featuring members of the Swedish band Tribute. The group quietly disbanded soon after. Lozaga, Rowe, and Benoit Moerlen went on to form Gongzilla in the early 1990s, releasing four albums to date which are very much an extension of the percussive fusion that the original group brought to the fold, and they perform a mix of new and old live material going back to the Gazeuse/Expresso II period. Moerlen joined them for their 2002 European tour. Pierre Moerlen died unexpectedly on May 3, 2005 of natural causes, while rehearsals for yet another line-up of PM's Gong were underway.

PIERRE MOERLEN'S BIO

Born : October 23rd, 1952 - Colmar (France). Died : May 3rd, 2005. Past Bands : Asthme Congélateur (1970-71), Gong (1973-78, 1997-99), Pierre Moerlen's Gong (1978-89), Mike Oldfield Band (1979-83), Magma (1981), Faton Bloom (1983-84), Tribute (1985-87), Biréli Lagrène Trio (1988), various musicals (1990-), Brand X (1997), Gongzilla (2002). One of the most accomplished musicians of the whole Canterbury scene, Pierre Moerlen, who died on May 3rd 2005 aged only 52, was certainly a world-class drummer, whose work with Gong and Mike Oldfield, not to mention his 'solo' albums as Pierre Moerlen's Gong, has attracted wide critical praise. Pierre Moerlen was born in Colmar into a very musical family, his father being the resident organist of the Strasbourg cathedral as well as a piano and organ teacher, and his mother a school piano teacher. His three sisters and his brother Benoît are also musicians, although not all play music professionally. Moerlen started playing piano until he turned to percussion while a teenager. In 1967, he entered the Conservatoire Régional in Strasbourg to learn classical percussion under the guidance of Jean Batigne, founder of the famed Percussions de Strasbourg. While studying strictly classical music at the Conservatoire, Moerlen also developed an interest for more contemporary musical genres, and soon found himself involved in rock and fusion groups. The most notable was called Asthme Congélateur and featured future Magma guitarist Gabriel Fédérow, and its main claim to fame was appearing on a regional television programme alongside Belfort progressive rockers Ange and an even more obscure band featuring the Lemoine brothers, Jean-Sébastien and Patrice. The latter joined Moerlen in Gong around the time of Shamal. Around that time, Moerlen began to feel the urge to write and perform his own music, based on the use of the various tuned and untuned percussion instruments at his disposal. He rehearsed his pieces with Mireille Bauer, a fellow Conservatoire student and his girlfriend at the time (and coincidentally a cousin of Jean Batigne). One interesting anecdote on this period is that sometime in 1972, Moerlen and Bauer both attended a Gong concert in Strasbourg, and neither was too enthused about the gig. Certainly not the shape of things to come! As a matter of fact, while on a visit to Paris to try and find work in classical music, an idea he was not too keen on, he met Patrice Lemoine on the station platform where he was waiting for his train back to Strasbourg. Lemoine told him that Gong were looking for a drummer after the band had broken up during the tumultuous sessions for Flying Teapot. Although reluctant at the start, one listen to the just completed record convinced him that there was potential in the band and Daevid Allen's musical concept. He joined the band in its Voisines headquarters. In the Spring of 1973, with Allen and Gilli Smyth resting in Mallorca, the rest of Gong toured under the name of Paragong in French youth centres, and when the pair came back, the new consolidated line-up went into the studio to record the second volume of Allen's Radio Gnome trilogy, Angels Egg. In the meantime, Moerlen had been recruited by Mike Oldfield to appear, alongside an impressive cast of Canterbury scene musicians like Steve Hillage, Mike Ratledge, Fred Frith, Kevin Ayers, John Greaves and David Bedford, at a live performance of Oldfield's just-released Tubular Bells at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Moerlen's time in Gong was one of constantly leaving the band, then joining in again, which led to using a lot of replacement drummers. But he was unsure whether this was the right place for him to be, and he kept returning to Strasbourg to work and tour with the Percussions de Strasbourg, as well as continuing work on his own percussion music. He came back to the Gong fold during the Summer of 1974 to work on the You album, but left again once it was completed. It was in the subsequent period that he wrote pieces like "Mandrake" and "Expresso". Then in July 1975, Moerlen received a phonecall from Virgin, asking him if he would agree to rejoin Gong and lead the band with Didier Malherbe : Allen, Smyth and Tim Blake had all left the previous Spring. This offer came as a replacement for the solo project that Virgin had accepted to release, so it was a tough decision to take, but finally Moerlen agreed and brought with him both Mireille Bauer (who in the meantime had guested on both Angels Egg and You) and Patrice Lemoine (who had sat in with Gong at a gig in Strasbourg in 1973). At first, the new Gong tried to maintain a continuity with the concepts created by Daevid Allen, with Hillage and his girlfriend Miquette Giraudy taking on Allen and Smyth's roles, but this approach proved a failure. By the time work started on Shamal in late 1975, after an extensive British tour with Clearlight opening, a new direction had been defined, and Steve Hillage was not too enthusiastic about it. Having enjoyed reasonable success with his first solo album, Fish Rising, he decided to concentrate on a solo career. Recruiting Clearlight violinist Jorge Pinchevsky as replacement, Gong finished the album and embarked on a long European tour. But the line-up didn't last long, and by the Summer of 1976 only Moerlen, Bauer and Malherbe were left. The latter recruited guitarist Allan Holdsworth, while Moerlen decided to further increase the percussive dimension of Gong, adding his brother Benoît to the line-up. Bassist Francis Moze, late of the Flying Teapot line-up, came back to the fold, alongside his friend Mino Cinélu, a promising young conga player. This new team toured Europe in the Summer of 1976, then headed to the studio, recording Gazeuse! before splitting up again soon after its completion. Following the split, Pierre Moerlen went to live in New York for a few months and met bass player Hansford Rowe, aged 22. 'Hanny' was involved in a band whose drummer had to leave to join the army, so Pierre replaced him for a few weeks and the pair forged a very special musical relationship. Back in his hometown of Strasbourg, France, in the late winter of 1976/77, Moerlen decided to form a new line-up of Gong with Rowe, and recruited former members Mireille Bauer (vibes and percussion), Jorge Pinchevsky (violin) and Benoit Moerlen (vibes), his younger brother, along with a youthful newcomer, François Causse (on percussion also). During the following months, this line-up often toured under the name Gong-Expresso, making its debut performance at the Gong family gathering of Paris, Porte de Pantin, May 1977, which witness the reformation of the 'classic' Gong line-up. Following Pinchevsky's departure (he subsequently vanished from the surface of the earth), several lead players guested on album and gigs (although at times only the basic percussion-led quintet performed), including Didier Malherbe, Darryl Way (violin player of Curved Air), Bon Lozaga, Allan Holdsworth and Mick Taylor. The latter four guested on the Expresso II album which, although recorded in the summer of 1977, only came out the following spring. This was the band's final release for Virgin and its release coincided with the name change to Pierre Moerlen's Gong. This period saw the departure of Mireille Bauer to the jazz-rock band Edition Speciale. Her relationship with Moerlen had by then become a purely musical one (she now lived with ex-Gong bass player Francis Moze while Moerlen was married with a child) and she felt she needed a bit of fresh air. She was not replaced, although a permanent guitarist, Ross Record, was recruited to fill the gap, and appeared on the subsequent album Downwind, which again was graced with superb guest appearances by Didier Lockwood (of the French bands Magma, Zao and Clearlight, not to mention his own Surya), Mike Oldfield (who co-produced the title-track), Steve Winwood and Didier Malherbe. After a few gigs with the new line-up, it became apparent that Ross Record was suffering from severe stagefright, so Moerlen summoned back Bon Lozaga, who in the meantime had gone back to live in the States. The trio of Lozaga, Rowe and Moerlen would be the mainstay of PMG until its demise in 1981. The band kept touring, but it had to be put on hold for a couple of months while the Moerlen brothers were touring Europe with Mike Oldfield. This marked the end of Benoït's involvement in the band, and for subsequent tours François Causse came back. Exhausted from incessant touring, Moerlen rented a house in Ireland with his wife and son, and wrote a complete album there, which would surface as Time Is The Key, considered by Pierre to be his best. It was recorded by Moerlen, Bon and Hanny with help from Peter Lemer on keyboards and various guests (Allan Holdsworth, Darryl Way, Nico Ramsden). This effort highlighted Moerlen's talents on a variety of tuned percussion instruments, making good use of overdubbing facilities. Of particular note was the superb introduction, "Ard Na Greine", with its intertwined vibraphone, glockenspiel, marimba and tympani over layers of synthesizers. During the following months, both Moerlen and Hansford were employed by Mike Oldfield for session work and touring, so there was no new album from Pierre Moerlen's Gong until 1981's Leave It Open. This final effort carried on in a similar vein to its predecessor, albeit a more inconsistent one. Following a change in the management of the band's label, Arista, PMG were dropped and forced to split up. There followed a period of uncertainty for Moerlen. After failing auditions for a couple of French pop singers, he briefly joined Magma but didn't get on well with Christian Vander (who does?) and preferred to turn to drum teaching in his native Strasbourg. In 1982 and 1983, he also worked again with Mike Oldfield, mainly in a live setting (although he does appear in the video of "Moonlight Shadow", miming to Simon Phillips' drum parts!). Then in the spring of 1985, Moerlen received a call from Tribute, a Swedish band he'd already been in touch with three years previously. At the time, the band wanted to hire him to play drums on an album but had to give up the idea. Now Tribute was a well-established gigging band and had both a Swedish and European tour in sight. This sounded good to Moerlen who joined Tribute, ultimately staying for two years and playing on two albums : the studio effort Breaking Barriers (1986), to which he contributed the beautiful closing piece "I Felt Like It"; and the live album Live - The Melody, The Beat, The Heart (1987). While in Sweden, he also recorded an album of his own compositions (one of which, "Far East", was played live at Tribute gigs) with the help of Tribute musicians. However, he asked Hansford Rowe to add bass parts to the tapes, and thus released the album under the Pierre Moerlen's Gong name. In 1987, Tribute ground to a halt (it later reformed under Gideon Andersson's sole guidance) and Moerlen formed a new PMG line-up back in France, with Hansford Rowe, Benoît Moerlen, ex-Tribute guitarist Ake Zieden and new members Frank Fischer (keyboards) and Stefan Traub (vibraphone). That line-up would tour Germany twice between 1987-89 (as documented on a forthcoming live CD), and record yet another album, Second Wind (1989), the band's most democratic effort to date, and one of their best. Unfortunately, things weren't as great from a financial point of view, and PMG broke up for good during 1989. Both Moerlen and his brother Benoît returned to teaching, while Rowe crossed the Atlantic again to settle in Montreal. Eventually, Moerlen began to work as resident drummer in several big musicals (Evita, Les Misérables etc.) and toured in Europe and the US with them, while Rowe formed Bon with Bon Lozaga, who in the meantime had quit the music scene to run a restaurant. There was talking of reviving PMG in 1994, but eventually the project became Gongzilla, a band featuring Lozaga, Rowe and Benoit Moerlen, but not Pierre, who did however join the band on a temporary basis in 2002 for a European tour. In March 1997 it was announced that Moerlen was joining Brand X for a tour of Japan, which regular drummer Frank Katz had declined to do. This series of gigs proved successful and he stayed for a further tour of Europe in May and June. In the meantime, he had also agreed to rejoin Gong following Pip Pyle's departure, in August 1997. He stayed on for a further French tour in 1998, but left two dates into the spring 1999 European tour under controversial circumstances. After leaving Gong, Moerlen resumed teaching and worked on compositions for a new album and a new incarnation of PMG. Spring 2000 saw a couple of live appearances which proved unsatisfactory. He had just begun rehearsing a new group, when the tragic news of Pierre's sudden death was released. © http://calyx.perso.neuf.fr/mus/moerlen_pierre.html

Noëlle Hampton




Noëlle Hampton - Thin Line - 2009 - T-REX

"Fat, gorgeous melodies; lyrics you can read like poetry, or that sound like whispered confidences. Understated,elegant arrangements & playing. Lovely vocals from Noëlle Hampton. A near-perfect package of words and music, soul and inspiration." - Ben Fong-Torres (former editor/Rolling Stone)

Lush and divine roots/rock that fills your soul just like wine fills the belly and leaves you warm and fuzzy and wanting to play it all over again. © 2004 - 2009 Tradebit Inc

California native Noëlle Hampton is based in Austin these days, but you can still hear the Pacific Ocean breeze blowing through Thinline. But there are whispers on that wind, dark secrets about the heart that Noëlle captures in artfully elliptical lyrics and sweetly stinging melodies alike. Late-’90s Sheryl Crow is the most obvious reference point for Noëlle’s voice and producer Mark Hallman’s alternately silky-smooth and strategically jagged production, but a cover of U2’s “Love Is Blindness” is more to the point—its meditative lyric walks the thin line between doubt and faith just as do her originals. © 2000-2009 American Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Noëlle has opened for artists lihe Bob Dylan, Richard Thompson, John Hiatt, Joan Armatrading, and Graham Parker. She writes beautiful, emotive songs relating to her own personal life experiences, and all performed with her own terrific blend of roots rock. "Thin Line" is a great album, with great lyrics, great musicians, and great songs which are full of soul, but also good old fashioned rock 'n' roll. Promote this great lady's music, and buy her "Under These Skies" album

TRACKS

1 Thin Line
2 Always the Same
3 Cold Strings
4 Blackwing Butterfly
5 Helpless Again
6 Safe from Love
7 Waiting Game
8 Firecracker
9 Danny
10 Love Is Blindness

All songs composed by Noëlle Hampton, except Track 10, by Adam Clayton/Dave Evans/Paul Hewson/Larry Mullen, Jr.

MUSICIANS

Noelle Hampton - Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Mark Hallman - Synthesizer, Bass, Keyboards, Hammond Organ, Background Vocals
Pete "The Beat" Langhans , Rick Richards - Drums
Michael Ramos - Accordion
Brian Standefer - Cello
Larkin Gayl, Teal Collins - Background Vocals

SHORT BIO

Winner of the highly competitive Levi's/Lilith Fair Talent Search, and 2001 California Music Awards nominee, Bay Area singer/songwriter/musician Noëlle Hampton is a talent on the rise. She released her self-produced CD, "Under These Skies" in 2000 which has sold thousands of copies and received raving reviews from critics.(Available on cdbaby.com, see above.) Andre Moran is an amazing guitarist and studio engineer who brings a lush and always appropriate artistry to everything he touches. He plays guitar with Noëlle Hampton and has engineered, co-produced and mixed all of her music, including the Christmas CD. There is one exception, Noëlle's first CD release, simply called Noëlle Hampton, was produced by Adam 'bagel' Berkowitz and Cole Tate in 1999. Nils Erickson ( who plays on the Christmas album ) and Andre met at Berklee School of Music in Boston and were roommates there and then in San Francisco when they moved out the Bay Area. Nils is a fantastic musician who's never afraid to try something new. Right now he plays bass in a S.F. band, 20 Minute Loop, but he has played guitar in many projects as well. He even broke out the pedal steel for that project. © 2001 to 2004, Decklin's Domain, All Rights Reserved



MORE ABOUT NOELLE HAMPTON

Mill Valley singer Noelle Hampton relights her fire in Austin: - WHATEVER HAPPENED TO Noelle Hampton? I'd wondered about that for years. She had been one of the rising stars on the Marin music scene, and then just disappeared. I'd been one of her biggest boosters. In a 2000 column, I wrote, "It's refreshing to find a young woman who isn't just trying to be a pop star for the sake of money and ego. Noelle Hampton actually has something to say." Nine years later, after seeming to slip off the musical map, she has reappeared with a new album of luscious indie rock, "Thin Line" ($13, CD Baby), produced in Austin, Texas, by Mark Hallman, who also records Eliza Gilkyson and Ani DiFranco. I was dying to know where she's been all this time, and to tell her how impressed I am by her new CD, her first a half dozen years ago, before she dropped out of sight. I remember Noelle as a talented Marin kid with a charismatic personality and an infectious laugh. She grew up in Mill Valley, graduating from Tam High in 1990. A gifted singer/songwriter, she made her debut at Sweetwater and later won a spot on the Lilith Fair, performing at Shoreline Amphitheater in 1998 with Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant and the other stars of the all-female tour. She was featured in the first iTunes commercial, and showed she belongs with the big boys as well as the girls when she opened for Bob Dylan, Wilco, Chris Isaak and Richard Thompson. At the same time her self-produced debut album, "Under These Skies," was nominated for a California Music Award, Noelle was up for outstanding female singer against Gwen Stefani. She was clearly on the verge. Then, as Mill Valley became more of an affluent family town and less the artists' enclave, she and her rock guitarist husband, Andr Moran, moved to Austin, "The Live Music Capital of the World." "It just felt like home to me, kind of like the way Marin used to feel when there were a bunch of artistic, cool, intellectual people looking to make a difference, to create an environment where people stop and talk to each other on the street," Noelle said by phone from Austin. "Mill Valley is a completely different place now," she said. "It's young moms with baby carriages. Everywhere you looked there were parents and kids, which is fine, but that wasn't the way Andr and I were headed. We wanted to play some rock 'n' roll, tour, have fun." Plus Mill Valley is expensive. She knew that they'd never be able to afford a house in Marin. Austin was affordable. Within a year of moving there, they bought their first home from a friendly neighbor. "We're right in the heart of South Austin. It's funky, cool and there's music blaring out of everybody's houses," she said brightly. "We open our front door on Sunday mornings and we can hear the gospel brunch coming from Maria's Taco Express. This is a music town. It seeps into your soul every day." Sounds perfect for a couple of young rockers, but there's a dark side to the story. "We're happy we made the move, but it was a big adjustment to have to start all over again," Noelle explained. "I think I was exhausted from working really hard in music for 10 years in the Bay Area. It took its toll on me, but I didn't realize how exhausted I was." To pay the bills, she got a "soul-sucking" day job selling high-end furniture. Andr gave guitar lessons, engineered in local studios and taught recording engineering at a community college. But they weren't playing music. They were letting their careers dry up in the Austin sun. "I wasn't doing anything musically for a long time," Noelle lamented. "The thought of putting a band together and having to book our shows was overwhelming. We didn't have a new CD, and it was daunting to start to record again. It became a lot easier to just not do it. I started to forget I'd been a musician." The longer she stayed away, the more unhappy she became. "I don't usually get depressed," she said. "I'm usually quite a level-headed person. So it was really hard for me to be that sad. Then I went into the crisis every woman in her 30s goes through. Should I be having a baby? I thought a baby might fill the void, but I realized very quickly that I didn't really want that. But what did I want?" What she wanted, but couldn't bring herself to admit, was to make music again. Then she met a life coach at a party who began to set her straight, showing her how we're all responsible for our own happiness. At the same time, like a bolt from the blue, ABC-TV contacted her, wanting to use one of her songs, "Here On the Ground," for its drama series "Men in Trees." "I thought, 'Wow, someone remembers me,'" Noelle recalled, beaming. "It was this lovely feeling of, 'I am still here.' It was a miracle." She got tremendously positive response from the show, which ran her song at full blast for six minutes at the end of the episode. "I was starting to feel like I was coming back," she remembered. "I could feel myself beginning to climb out of the hole. I could just feel it." It wasn't long before she was back in the studio, recording "Thin Line," which showcases nine personally revealing original songs, including one called "Firecracker." "'Firecracker' is me explosively singing my frustrations out about how I'd felt I'd failed," she said. "I was really pissed off at myself, and that song expressed that. The last line goes: 'In these darkest times one light will glow/From that firecracker burning slow.' I knew I was like that light, and that I'd glow again." Paul Liberatore, Posted: 07/30/2009 11:26:09 PM PDT, www.marinij.com/lifestyles/ci_12958385 [ Contact Paul Liberatore via e-mail at liberatoreATmarinij.com; follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LibLarge ] © 2008 - Marin Independent Journal

Jiva




Jiva - Jiva - 1975 - Dark Horse

Jiva was a California soft rock band with a sound that's a mixture of Hall & Oates, Splinter, and George Harrison. Not a bad album. Little is known about the band, and any info is appreciated. Did Gary Wright play on this album?

TRACKS

Something's Going On In L.A.
The Closer I Get
Love Is A Treasure
Take My Love
Hey Brother
World Of Love
What You're Waiting For
It's Time You Know
Don't Be Sad
All Is Well

All songs composed by Lanning, Hilton, & Strauss

BAND

Michael Scott Lanning, Thomas Walter Hilton - guitar, vocals
James Strauss - bass, vocals
Michael Reed - percussion, drums

27.12.09

Gallagher & Lyle




Gallagher & Lyle - Showdown - 1978 - A&M

Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle were born in Largs, Ayrshire, Scotland. In 1969 they joined the great McGuinness Flint, and later continued as a duo. They released several good albums, which never sold well commercially, but all their albums contain some beautiful folk-pop melodies. Unfortunately, as a duo, they were nowhere near as successful as their McGuinness Flint days. In 1976 they wrote the great, and very successful ‘Breakaway’, 'I Wanna Stay With You' and 'Heart On My Sleeve' songs, which have been recorded by many artists. By 1979, the duo had split up. There are ten good songs on this sadly, forgotten album. Benny Gallagher, & Graham Lyle never truly got the credit they so richly deserved for their musicianship and brilliant songwriting. Try and listen to the duo's "Seeds" album, which is another neglected album from two of the greatest somgwriters ever to emerge from Britain. Search this blog for more Gallagher & Lyle releases.

TRACKS

A1 Showdown 3:33
A2 In Your Eyes 4:09
A3 You're the One 3:04
A4 Hurts to Learn 3:34
A5 It's Over 3:08

B1 Heartbreaker 3:33
B2 Backstage 3:18
B3 All Grown Up 3:30
B4 Throw Away Heart 2:47
B5 Next to You 3:19
All songs composed by Gallagher & Lyle

MUSICIANS

Benny Gallagher, Graham Lyle - Guitar, Vocals
Alan Hornall - Bass
Billy Livsey - Keyboards
Ray Duffy - Drums
Ray Cooper - Percussion
Jim Horn - Saxophone

BIO

The pop duo phenomenon that spawned such acts as Simon & Garfunkel, Brewer & Shipley and Seals & Crofts was pre-dated by the duo formed by songwriters, guitarists and vocalists Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle. Initially attracting attention as songwriters of Dean Ford & the Gaylords' single, "Mr. Heartbreak's Here Instead," Gallagher & Lyle went on to record as a duo and members of McGuinness Flint and Ronnie Lane's group, the Last Chance Band. Gallagher and Lyle continued to balance their performances and recordings as staff songwriters for the Beatles' Apple label, writing "Sparrow" and "International" for Mary Hopkin. The title track of their sixth duo album, Breakaway, was later covered by Art Garfunkel. Gallagher & Lyle first played together in Largos, a small town in Argyle, Scotland., near Glasgow. Relocating to London in 1967, the duo became full-time writers at Apple. Three years later, they joined with Tom McGuinness and Hughie Flint to form McGuinness Flint. Although they recorded two successful singles, "When I'm Dead and Gone" and "Malt and Barley Blues," the group disbanded in 1971. Recording their self-titled debut duo album for Capitol, Gallagher & Lyle switched to the A&M label by their second effort. Their first release on A&M, however, was a reissue of their debut album. In the spring of 1974, Gallagher and Lyle joined Ronnie Lane's Last Chance Band, remaining with the group until May 1974. The duo balanced their work with the band with additional duo albums, How Come and The Last Cowboy. They continued to record on their own following the breakup of the group. Breakaway was released in 1975, Love on the Airwaves in 1977 and Show Down in 1978. Switching to the Phonogram label, they recorded their final album, Lonesome No More in 1979. Following a tour to support the album, the duo went their seperate ways. Lyle continued to write, in collaboration with Terry Britten, reaching his peak with "What's Love Got to Do With It," covered by Tina Turner, and "Just Good Friends," recorded by Michael Jackson. © Craig Harris, All Music Guide

BIO (WIKIPEDIA)

Graham Lyle (born Graham Hamilton Lyle, 11 March 1944, Bellshill, Lanarkshire, Scotland). Benny Gallagher (born Bernard Joseph Gallagher, 10 June 1945, Largs, Ayrshire, Scotland). Gallagher and Lyle was the Scottish pairing of singer-songwriters Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle. They joined forces in 1959, initially as members of the local Largs based band, The Bluefrets. They began writing original material for the band and also wrote "Mr Heartbreak's Here Instead" for Dean Ford and the Gaylords (later to become Marmalade). Their first recognition came in 1968, when they were signed by The Beatles to write for Apple Records' musicians such as Mary Hopkin ("Sparrow", "The Fields of St. Etienne", "International", "Heritage", and "Jefferson"). There was a rare one-off single issued on UK Polydor 56093 in 1967; "Trees" b/w "In The Crowd" issued under the name Gallagher-Lyle, which preceded their success as songwriters at Apple. By 1970, they had joined McGuinness Flint, and penned the UK Singles Chart Top 10 hit singles "When I'm Dead and Gone" and "Malt and Barley Blues", both produced by Glyn Johns. In the wake of the singer-songwriter phenomenon, they formed the duo Gallagher and Lyle in 1972, recording four albums: Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle, Willie and the Lapdog, Seeds, and The Last Cowboy again under the auspices of Glyn Johns. But it was not until their fifth album, Breakaway, in 1976, that they charted again, with the hits "Heart on My Sleeve" and "I Wanna Stay with You", both of which reached Number 6 in the UK Singles Chart. Art Garfunkel's cover of "Breakaway" was also a hit at the time, and Don Williams took "Stay Young" to No. 1 on the U.S. country chart, which saw the song receive in excess of one million airplays on American radio. The duo also penned and performed "A Heart in New York", which was later performed by both Simon & Garfunkel and Garth Brooks in their concerts in Central Park, New York to audiences of 500,000 and 750,000, respectively. Their mellow sound was only briefly in vogue, and elusive further success (another minor hit in the UK was "Every Little Teardrop") prompted their split in 1979. Lyle formed a new songwriting partnership with Terry Britten, and their hits included "What's Love Got to Do with It?" and "We Don't Need Another Hero" for Tina Turner; and "Just Good Friends" for Michael Jackson. He also recorded an album with Tom McGuinness, credited to Lyle McGuinness: Acting on Impulse (1983). Gallagher spent nine years as a founding director and the first chairman of the Performing Artists Media Rights Association (PAMRA), which saw £20 million of equitable remuneration paid through to UK performers under his stewardship. He has been deemed a companion of LIPA, Sir Paul McCartney's school of performing arts in Liverpool, and spent a brief spell as bassist and vocalist of The Manfreds, which included five of the original members of Manfred Mann, featuring both lead singers, Paul Jones and Mike D'Abo, in the same band for the first time touring the UK, Europe, the Middle and Far East, Australia and New Zealand. Gallagher is currently a featured artist and co-owner of OnSong (an internet based record label) with Derek Wilson. Gallagher has released two albums as a solo artist - Benny Gallagher on Stage and more recently, At the Edge of the Wave. Gallagher and Lyle sang and performed as members of Ronnie Lane and The Slim Chance Band on the hit single "How Come" and the ensuing album, Anymore for Anymore, and they have worked, jointly and individually, on records with Mary Hopkin, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Ronnie Lane, Ronnie Wood, Elkie Brooks, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, Champion Jack Dupree, Joan Armatrading, Ralph McTell, Sandy Denny, Fairport Convention and Jim Diamond. In addition to those already mentioned, artists who have recorded and released Gallagher and Lyle songs include: Bryan Ferry, Colin Blunstone, Donavon Frankenreiter, Elkie Brooks, Fairport Convention, Fury in the Slaughterhouse, Joe Brown, Judith Durham, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Phil Everly, Ricky Nelson, Ringo Starr, Rita Coolidge, Status Quo, The Fureys, Lemon Jelly and Jim Capaldi.